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I live in Brooklyn, NY and I love it here.  I came here for my career in 2009 and haven't once looked back. 

Monday, March 8, 2010

Oscars...

I've decided that I love watching the Oscars. In years past it was this thing that everyone else got excited about but I didn't so much. I'd watch the ceremony if the people I was hanging out with were watching but I usually hadn't seen most of the movies that were nominated. This is still true actually, although this year I had seen many of them without having to try. (Last year on the other hand, I actually did try to catch up on all of the nominations a week before the Oscars). Normally, I kind of just catch up with movies on my own time typically and the Oscars was not something that was on my calendar yearly.

But watching them is not so much about seeing who won or predicting who's going to win. It's more about watching the speeches. I just love seeing people get awarded for their hard work and accepting graciously. And not only because I hope one day to be awarded for my own hard work. There's something inspiring about it. I know it's potentially decades and mountains of hard work away for me if it's going to come at all but I like to dream...and it may not be an Oscar nomination that will be the culmination of my career but watching the Oscars is one way of visualizing a goal for me, that goal not necessarily being acclaim or honor but acheivement, recognized or unrecognized. In this regard, watching the Oscars actually keeps me going when I get discouraged like I did a few weeks ago.

I was reading an article in Time Out New York about a Cobble Hill, Brooklyn-based composer making her way in the music world and, incidentally, being compared with Mozart by some, according to this particular reviewer. What struck me about her was that she not only has her hands in the classical music world, having just premiered an opera, but she also has a postclassical postrock band that just released a debut album. This all should be very inspiring for me because I have all of these musical ideas that span genres and I'm still trying to wrap my brain around how to implement them all. And to know that someone else out there is making it happen is just awesome.

But instead, I give in to jealousy. Jealousy is what keeps welling up inside of me, every time I read an article or see a successful composer's website, someone who started young and had monetary support and made smart choices with their money even. I'm jealous that this person took a path that allowed them to focus fully on music early on, to the extent that all they have ever done probably is music. Wheras I, on the other hand, decided that I'd get a full time job in television news directly out of college, one with weird hours, which would exhaust me and take up all of my time that wasn't spent with my ex-wife, let music casually slide to the back burner while I wrestled with how to pay for graduate school while in a controlling relationship and wondered how I would ever make a name for myself as a composer with all of these obstacles. I see composers that have acclaim and I want acclaim, I see composers that have pieces of music performed and albums recorded and reputations and I want it all. If I'd had a trajectory from the beginning, I might be somewhere else altogether by now.

But that sort of thinking, should haves and might bes and whatnot, is counter productive and I know it. I can't go back and redo, so I have to start from here. Nor should I assume that it can't be done, that these successful composers took the only path that leads to success. While it does seem nearly impossible for me to jump from working in television news, on an overnight shift, no less, trying to make enough money to pay rent in this city, to being a working composer up against all the competition for good jobs, when I hardly have the time to hone my craft, let alone sit down and write a piece of music that I say I'm going to write, it's not. It would be nice if I had nothing but time to work on music, if I had funding from royalties from all my past recordings, if I had gone to a good school for a program in film scoring and had loads of industry connections and was already ghost writing or doing music editing for some big shot composer who was mentoring me. But that's not the only way. I'm convinced that as long as I have musical ability and motivation, my guitar and my sequencers, and the knowledge to use them, I shouldn't have any trouble producing my music and getting it heard.

But perhaps, I should just write and not think about the prospect of acheievement. While it can be a powerful motivator in the right context, sometimes that prospect can just be discouraging. Why should I waste my energies on trying to get somewhere instead of just being here and doing what I love?

Anyway, a lot of this is just the frustration of the last few weeks speaking. I had started the minimalist chamber piece at the beginning of the year but then had to grind to a halt to focus on finishing up George's score. Then I had to focus on apartment hunting and now that that ordeal is finally over, I'm trying to unpack and rearrange my room so that I can still have a space to compose despite the fact that my room is a full 39 square feet smaller than my bedroom in Sunset Park. I'm making it work though.

Before I go though, the latest piece of news: I have another potential collaboration with a dancer coming up. A different kind of project but something that I've definitely dabbled in before. More details on that later. For now, let me just end by saying that I am not discouraged, I am empowered and that while the Oscars would be nice, it would also be nice to just keep composing music. Maybe people will hear it and like it, maybe not. SFW.

Oh and a sidebar...Apparently, Mo'Nique's family was at the Oscar's party I skidded into for a hot second before coming to work. Kind of cool.

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